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January 06, 2003 07:49am
Lesbian Porn Studios - Sistahs Do'in it for Themselves
Source: Passion Fruit Productions
by: Company Press Release

In 1985 when Nan Kinney and her partner, Deborah Sundahl looked for lesbian porn they couldn't find anything that looked like the hot lesbians they knew. That was the genesis for On Our Backs magazine, and with it, Fatale Video. What they didn't know was that they were about to pave the way for a whole generation of women porn producers.

"Our sexuality was seemingly non-existent back then," says the slender, soft-spoken Kinney, "A lot of the lesbian community was very politically correct, and men were producing images we couldn't relate to." So they began to create lesbian-produced adult movies, made by lesbians for lesbians. Their first film, Private Pleasures/Shadows, was an enigma to the adult distributors of the time. "We were so far outside what the industry was used to," she laughs. "The early distributors filed lesbian porn on back shelves as specialty tapes."

A new understanding of feminism that included the right for women to be sexy and sexually empowered changed that. With the advent of women friendly online ordering stores and more female friendly adult shops, lesbian-made porn found a market. Women and couples began shopping together for porn movies. Today, Kinney continues to make movies that feature women who represent the lesbian community in appearance and sexuality. Her recent film, Take her Down, is about female wrestlers and features both butch and femme women.

Lesbian-made porn has become a hot commodity and women (and the men who love them) are discerning buyers. "One reason may be that women are harder to please than men!" says Nan. "Women tend to notice if the actresses are just performing rather than having real sex." Women consumers also note whether the view of women from behind the camera is respectful or not. Passion Fruit Video's Alpha, director of this year's AVN-nominated Gallery Erotica, agrees. "Lesbian directors tend to portray the women as multi-dimensional, and the beauty of their sexuality is obvious," she says, "It's voyeuristic, but adoring! You don't sacrifice heat to show sex from this perspective." Films from the lesbian-owned studios have met with unexpected acceptance from male consumers who have grown tired of the commonly accepted formulas used in many adult films, and as the couple's market has grown, so have sales.

S.I.R. Video, owned by Shar Rednour and Jackie Strano, began with the intent to create some very hard core lesbian films that featured a wide range of body types and races. Says Strano, "We're proud of our diversity because in our videos you see everything from Asian butch dyke daddies to femme on femme strap-on and high heel worship to tranny drag kings to throwing-the-babe-down-on-the-kitchen-table fantasies." Rednour, who started work in adult films with Fatale, and Strano have met with acceptance from everyone in the industry. They were especially thrilled with their AVN Award in 2001 for Best All Girl Feature for Hard Love/How To Fuck in High Heels. "Everyone we've encountered has been very gracious and loving. At the AVN party we caused a little stir -- some of us had blue hair, the butches were in suits, we had our tattoos and piercings, and we all looked Very San Francisco!" laughs Strano.

Fatale Video's How To Female Ejaculate was nominated for an AVN Award in 1992, and Bend Over Boyfriend (directed for Fatale by Shar Rednour) was nominated in 1998. Their best-selling Suburban Dykes has been a popular title with consumers for ten years -- far longer than the average adult video. "It didn't occur to us in our early years to submit videos for nomination," laughs Nan, "We were such outsiders, but times have really changed."

The lesbian producers tend to view their work as more than just making sexy movies. " it's a new generation of porn and the women are much more empowered in front of the lens and behind it," says Passion Fruit's Alpha, who has a canvas in her office with a quote from Ghandi that reads "Be the Change you Wish To See in the World." What that means is that now we're seeing women's own views of their sexuality, and it's exciting and different." Says Kinney, " Times have really changed and a new generation of men doesn't feel threatened by the women in the industry -- they welcome the new ideas! "Strano, like the other lesbian producers, enjoys showing what lesbian sex is really like. She says, " Necessity being the mother of invention, we set out to showcase hot butches and gorgeous femmes... nasty dykes getting really fierce with their fucking."

Fatale Video's work has inspired lesbian producers to create new films that are not only XXX but artfully done, including Willfully Perverse Productions' Bed and Inversion, Passion Fruit Video's Home Cookin', Capture, and Gallery Erotica, and Sir Video's Sugar High/Glitter City. In spite of being hard core, their films also play gay and lesbian film festivals and other independent film venues. Passion Fruit's Alpha gets questions from men like "If it's art, will there be enough sex, will the girls be beautiful enough, will the films appeal to everyone, not just women?" "Then they take a look and get blown away!" What about the criticism that women don't buy that many adult videos? "If you show women what they want to see, they will buy it," says Alpha,"besides, hot is hot -- that kind of passion onscreen is gender-blind!" Strano agrees. "If it turns us on, then we can bet others will respond. We're committed to showing real dykes having real sex."

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